By Walden Bello*

Abstract:  Throughout the global South, protests have been triggered by the uncontrolled rise in food prices.  The “perfect storm” of Covid 19, climate change, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine has definitely been a factor.  However, more fundamental is the problem created by global food chains that have centralized control of food production, transportation, and distribution by agribusiness giants.  Global supply chains have led to the weakening of regional and local food systems, marginalized smallholders and indigenous communities, and made food production and distribution very vulnerable to extreme weather events as well as to geopolitical crises like the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

One cannot understand why global value chains have become so dominant without understanding the dynamics of capitalist industrial agriculture, how the pursuit of profits through narrow efficiency has led to the promotion of export-oriented agriculture at the expense of local or domestic food production.

Promoting food self-sufficiency is part of the answer to the crisis of food security, but achieving food sovereignty—which includes not just food self-sufficiency but prioritizing production by smallholders and indigenous communities, re-localizing production, making agricultural practices subject to democratic and participatory decision-making, and spreading ecologically sustainable agricultural practices—is the more appropriate strategy.


The Global Food Crisis, this time

 A dossier by Focus on the Global South

A perfect storm is brewing in the global food system, pushing food prices to record high levels, and expanding hunger. The continuing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine War, climate-related disasters and a breakdown of supply chains have led to widespread protests across the global South triggered by the spiraling food prices and shortages.

As international institutions struggle to respond, some governments have resorted to knee-jerk ‘food nationalism’ by placing export bans to preserve their own food supplies and stabilise prices. While this is an understandable defensive response, the solution lies in a more systemic, transformative approach.

In this dossier, researchers from Focus on the Global South write about various aspects of the current crisis, its causes, and how it is impacting countries in Asia. These include regional analysis, case studies from Sri Lanka, Philippines and India, the role of corporations in fuelling the crisis and the flawed responses of international institutions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Bretton Woods Institutions and United Nations agencies. We also attempt to present national, regional and global aspects of a progressive and systemic solution as articulated by communities, social movements and researchers at multiple levels.

Articles will be published every week till mid-October. Other articles included in the dossier can be found under this tag here.

We begin with Walden Bello – who lays out the current crisis in a historical context and maps out some of the key protest hotspots. Bello then puts a scanner on the breakdown of global supply chains triggered by the pandemic. The crisis of the global value chain, he says, stems from the dynamics of capitalist agriculture and its incessant push for profits at the expense of local and regional food systems. The latter half of the paper clarifies issues around food security and sufficiency. It concludes with an urgent call to begin the strategic transformation of the global food production system towards food sovereignty if we are to stave off such crises in the future.


Global Food Crisis Triggers Global Protests

For the second time in 16 years, the world has been hit by a global food crisis.

In 2006-2008, a three-fold rise in the food import basket of less developed countries since 2000 added 75 million people to the ranks of the hungry and an estimated 125 million into extreme poverty.[i]  Some thirty countries in the global South witnessed violent protests and other mass actions against the rise of imported foods.[ii]

In 2020-2022, an eerily familiar scenario emerged, though some of the forces driving it were new.  Global hunger and the chronic inability to access food skyrocketed in 2021, with 2.3 billion people facing moderate or severe food insecurity around the world, according to the United Nations.[iii]

According to the World Food Program, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, “135 million people faced acute food insecurity; before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, that figure reached 276 million people. The estimated figure for 2022 , it said, was 335 million people across 82 countries.”[iv]

Food Crisis Triggers Protests in the Global South

As in 2006-2008, major protests were triggered by the uncontrolled inflation of fuel and food prices.  A detailed report from Reuters chronicled these largely spontaneous mass actions:[v]


Thousands of farmers protested in Buenos Aires on April 23 against President Alberto Fernandez, whose policies to contain food prices to curb rampant inflation have been criticized by the agricultural sector.


Thousands of students marched through the Chilean capital Santiago on March 25 demanding higher food stipends.


Cypriot farmers dumped tonnes of milk and lit bales of hay outside the presidential palace in the capital Nicosia on May 18, in protest at high prices and production issues.


Thousands of Greek workers protested in Athens in May Day rallies against surges in energy and food prices. Greece’s annual consumer inflation accelerated to 8.9% in March, hitting its highest level in 27 years.


One person was killed in Guinea’s capital on June 2 during protests over fuel price hikes, in the most serious unrest since a military junta took power last year. Gunfire rang out in Conakry overnight as people barricaded streets and set tyres alight in protest over a 20% increase in the price of gasoline, a Reuters reporter and witnesses said.


Indonesian farmers protested in Jakarta on May 17 against the rising cost of palm oil export ban. Smallholder farmers’ group APKASINDO estimates at least 25% of palm oil mills have stopped buying palm fruit from independent farmers since the ban started, sending the price of palm fruit 70% below a floor price set by regional authorities.


Price protests turn political in Iran as rallies spread. The protests began in early May sparked by the government’s subsidy cut decision that caused price hikes in Iran by as much as 300% for a variety of flour-based staples. The government also raised prices of some basic goods such as cooking oil and dairy products.

Pensioners protested in Iran on June 6 in a fresh demonstration against soaring living costs, according to Fars news agency and social media reports, in a further challenge to authorities grappling with weeks of unrest. About 1,000 retirees gathered to protest peacefully and were escorted by the police in the city, Fars wrote.


Activists held a demonstration on May 17 in Nairobi, asking the government to lower costs of living, especially on food prices.


Lebanese truck and bus drivers and others blocked roads in January to protest against soaring prices. The protesters accuse politicians of failure to address an ongoing economic crisis since 2019.


Palestinian police made a number of arrests on June 6 as protests against soaring prices for food and other necessities spread a day ahead of a planned strike to demand action from the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority. Official figures released by the Palestinian Central Statistics Bureau put the food prices increase at between 15 and 18 percent.


Peru deployed the army on highways in April in response to road blockades spurred by anger over rising food and fuel prices. Peru is facing its highest inflation rate in a quarter century.


In March, a protester was shot and killed in the Sudanese city of Madani, medics said, as demonstrators marched across the country to protest a military coup that has been followed by a steep economic downturn. Sudan’s currency has lost more than a third of its value since the military coup in October last year, rapidly driving up prices for fuel, food and other goods.


Tunisia said on May 11 it would raise the prices of some foods including milk, eggs and poultry, following protests by farmers against a jump in animal feed barley prices.


Sri Lanka: Food Crisis and Bankruptcy

The poster boy of the current crisis is Sri Lanka.  While onerous debt, Covid-19, and other factors were central in the lead-up to the crisis, it was the shortage of food and other basic commodities that was the tipping point.  As one personal account put it:

I have a car, which has now turned into a giant paperweight. Sri Lanka literally ran out of gas, so my kids asked if they could play inside the vehicle. That’s all it is good for. Getting fuel required waiting for days in spirit-crushing queues. I gave up. I got around by bus or bicycle. Most of the economy stopped moving at all. Now fuel has been rationed, but irrationally. Rich people get enough fuel for gas-guzzling S.U.V.s while working taxis don’t get enough and owners of tractors struggle to get anything at all.

The rupee has lost almost half its value since March, and many goods are out of stock. You learn to react at the first sign of trouble: When power cuts started a few months ago, my wife and I bought an expensive rechargeable fan; days later, they were sold out. When fuel cuts became dire, we immediately bought bicycles, and the next day their price went up. Staples like rice, vegetables, fish and chicken have soared in price.

Many Sri Lankans are going on one meal a day; some are starving. Every week brings to my door a new class of people reduced to begging to survive.[vi]

By early July, people had had enough.  People marched to the presidential palace and took it over, as they did the home of the Prime Minister, both of whom belonged to the corrupt Rajapaksa dynasty.  The brothers fled, with the president Gotayaba Rajapaksa flying to the Maldives.


Genesis and Crisis of the Global Value Chain

During the 2006-2008 crisis, blame was placed on the withdrawal of farmland from food production in the United States and its repurposing for biofuel production and on the way financialization had artificially reduced the supply of goods owing to the conversion of food into assets or derivatives traded in global markets, thus directly affecting the moves of their prices.[vii]

In 2022, the focus of concern was the disruption of the global value chain.

The global value chain was the key institution resulting from the creation of a process of production, the dynamics of which was “the suppression of particularities of time and place in both agriculture and diets,” as Harriet Friedmann put it.  “More rapidly and deeply than before, transnational agrifood capitals disconnect production from consumption and relink them through buying and selling. They have created an integrated productive sector of the world economy, and peoples of the Third World have been incorporated or marginalized—often both simultaneously—as consumers and producers.”[viii]

The 2007-2008 crisis should have triggered serious interrogation of the resiliency of the global food supply chain.  Instead, following the crisis, the global supply chain stretched farther and farther and local and regional food systems withered even more.  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that global agricultural trade more than tripled in value to around US$1.6 trillion from 2000 to 2016.[ix]  According to Jean Shaoul, “Some 20 percent of the calories people eat—such as rice, soya, grains and wheat, cross at least one international border, up by more than 50 percent since 1980, with one third of the world’s food coming from low and middle-income countries.”[x]  More and more local and regional food systems that used to provide most of domestic production and consumption of food have retreated, with “[m]odern Food Supply Chains (dominated by large processing firms and supermarkets, capital-intensive, with relatively low labor intensity of operations) constitute roughly 30%-50% of the food systems in China, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, and 20% of the food systems in Africa and South Asia.”[xi]

The bulk of the evidence shows that the gains from “high-standards” agricultural trade promoted by value chains that imposed strict quality controls on local producers were captured by foreign investors, large food companies and developing country elites.[xii]  Vertical integration and consolidation at the buyer end of export chains were strengthening the bargaining power of large agro-industrial firms and food multinationals, displacing decision-making authority from the farmers to these downstream companies, and expanding the capacity of these companies to extract rents from the chain to the disadvantage of contracted smallholder suppliers in the chains.  Especially where large farms and smallholders exist side by side, “smallholders are more likely to be excluded” as suppliers to corporate buyers.[xiii]

The smallholder, in short, was being squeezed out at almost every level, from production to finance to meeting sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards, all of which benefit corporate agriculture, with its big buyers, big suppliers, and big middle men.  One well known liberal research institute summed up the smallholders’ plight thus: “Increasingly globalized and liberalized agri-food markets are dominated by supermarkets, distributors, processors, and agro-exporters that are introducing and expanding food safety and quality standards that many smallholders are unable to meet. These developments are further shifting the competitive advantage away from smallholder farmers toward large-scale producers.”[xiv]

Contract farming was a value chain innovation introduced in many countries, such as Thailand.  The case of Thailand is instructive.  As one report notes, “many of the problems that cropping contracts were intended to solve have been left unresolved.  Farmers and companies often reneged on agreed production targets and prices.  Over time, many farmers abandoned farming contracts to regain flexibility and independence, including the opportunity to negotiate better prices.”[xv] Thailand is a good case of how value chain institutions like contract farming “usually assist better-off farmers, while poorer and middle income farmers may not benefit or may even experience new risks.”[xvi]

Foreign investors were often in the vanguard of the food supply chain “revolution” touted by neoliberals (with some of their investments really being ill-disguised land grabs), but as the same research agency highlights in the case of Africa, their operations carried “potential risks, including irreversible natural resource degradation; displacement of smallholder farmers by large, capital-intensive farms; and increasing domestic food insecurity due to rising food exports.”[xvii]

Aside from the erosion of local food systems and its deleterious impact on smallholders, the value chain was also wasteful, with an astonishing 30 per cent of food being wasted![xviii]  Also, climate hazards impacted all activities along the chain.  Extreme weather dried up rivers in Europe in the summer of 2022, posing a massive threat to the transport and delivery of food via the continent’s waterways.  According to one report:

Across continental Europe, a sweltering summer heatwave has led to the drying up of crucial waterways, hampering critical trade. One of the most significant passages for agri-food shipments such as grain, the Rhine river, is fast becoming impassable for barge traffic. In Italy, the country’s “king of rivers,” the Po, is reportedly two meters lower than normal, triggering warnings of crop productivity slowing to a trickle…Meanwhile, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria are dredging deeper channels into the historic Danube, which snakes its way 1,800 miles through central Europe toward the Black Sea…In Bavaria, the Danube reached 25°C earlier this month and could hit 26.5°C by mid-month, meaning its oxygen content could drop below six parts per million – which is fatal for trout…“We need extraordinary measures to ensure supply security,” warns Germany’s economy minister Robert Habeck.[xix]

Super-typhoon Rai or Odette, which hit the Philippines in December 2021, destroyed 10 million hectares of crop area, along with 120,000 livestock and poultry, while the cost of damages to fisheries was estimated at over 2 billion pesos (US$39 million).[xx]  In early 2022, Malaysia put restrictions on exports of its chicken products since hens tended to produce fewer eggs in extremely hot weather.  India—the world’s second largest producer—banned grain exports after a heatwave in March and April slashed yields owing to grain’s being sensitive to high temperatures.[xxi]


The Philippines: The Making of an Import Dependent Agricultural Economy

Like most other countries, the Philippines saw uncontrolled food price rises in 2021-2022.  As of end-May, inflation averaged 4.1 percent, above the government’s 2 to 4 percent target range of manageable price hikes conducive to economic growth.[xxii] But even before the perfect storm of Covid-19, climate change, and Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine, Philippine agriculture was already in severe trouble.

Among developing countries in Asia, the Philippines is the outlier.  In comparison to food surplus countries such as India, Thailand, and Vietnam, the country’s ability to battle food inflation was limited.  Indeed, the Philippines “is the most food-insecure country in emerging Asia due to its reliance on imported food to feed its expanding population…”[xxiii]

But the Philippines was not always a trade deficit country.  Indeed, as late as 1993, its agricultural trade balance was in surplus.  There is no disputing the fact that the decisive event that led the Philippines to become an import-dependent agricultural economy was its joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995.

Since the Philippines joined the WTO in 1995, its agricultural trade went into deficit, growing from $149 million in 1995 to $960 million in 2005 to a whopping $7.9 billion in 2019.[xxiv]

Twenty-six years after the country joined the WTO, not only has it eliminated all quotas on agricultural products—including the last one, on rice, in 2019; according to the the US Department of Agriculture, Philippine tariffs, which replaced quotas, are now “among the lowest in the region and often close to the preferential rates” offered to members of ASEAN.[xxv]  Not surprisingly, import penetration of almost all agricultural commodities is quite high, translating into huge profits for foreign producers and local importers and into a permanent crisis for local producers.  The Philippines is, in fact, a classic example of how to turn a highly self-sufficient agricultural economy into a highly import-dependent one.

The reason often given for the reversal of agricultural trade from surplus to deficit is that Filipino farmers are inefficient, that their costs of production are too high, making them uncompetitive with foreign exporters.  This is a case of a falsehood repeated often enough that it takes on the status of truth, to paraphrase Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chieftain.  The explanation, rather, is that Filipino farmers can’t compete because the Philippines has become a dumping ground for foreign commodities that can be sold at dirt cheap prices because their producers are highly subsidized.   This is very clear with respect to the US and the European Union, the two biggest exporters of agricultural products to the Philippines.

In the nearly three decades since the Philippines entered the WTO, the US has become the country’s top supplier of agricultural goods, accounting for 21 percent of imports, followed by the European Union, whose share is 11 per cent.[xxvi]  This is no cause for surprise since state subsidies for American and European Union farmers are the highest in the world.  In 2020, the US agricultural sector received a record $46.8 billion in subsidies, which translated to the government subsidizing 39 per cent of the average American farmer’s cost of production.[xxvii]  In the European Union, total subsidies have totaled over 50 billion euros yearly, translating to the average European Union farmer being subsidized to the tune of 20 percent of the cost of production.[xxviii]   With such a huge chunk of their cost of production covered by government subsidies, one can no longer speak about US and European Union agriculture as being run on free market lines but as socialist agriculture.

Socialist agriculture is fine when there is an even playing field.  But when the two biggest global producers practice socialist subsidization in a global capitalist trading system where smaller producers like the Philippines engage in the free market, the result is massive dislocation and marginalization for the latter.   The reason is that massive subsidization has what experts have described as the “pernicious” effect of promoting overproduction in the US and the European Union, and this leads to dumping of excess produce in world markets, leading to lower world prices for agricultural commodities.[xxix]   Those prices cannot be matched by local farmers, who have to foot the total cost of production themselves since they run on a purely free market system and enjoy little or no subsidies from government that would allow them to be price competitive.

In the case of the Philippines, with the elimination of quotas as decreed by the WTO and the so-called Minimum Access Volumes (MAVs) providing little protection, dumping of massively subsidized products triggered crises in the corn, pig, poultry, and vegetable sectors, leading to the bankruptcy of large numbers of small and medium producers and increased poverty across the board in a country where poverty had already been concentrated in the rural areas. The desperation of Philippine producers was echoed by one of the government’s negotiators at a meeting of the WTO Agricultural Committee in Geneva: “Our agricultural sectors that are strategic to food and livelihood security and rural employment,” he told the body, “have already been destabilized as our small producers are being slaughtered in our own markets, [and] even the most resilient and efficient are in distress.”[xxx]

The agony of the country’s rice agriculture had been going on for three decades before President Duterte signed the Rice Tariffication Act in 2019 that effectively put an end to its suffering by proclaiming a death sentence.

Under the Agreement of Agriculture (AOA) of the WTO, developing countries were allowed to retain a quota or import restriction on one commodity.  In the case of the Philippines, it was rice.  The country was required to import rice that amounted to 4 percent of domestic consumption and none beyond that.  But, in fact, the government imported amounts far beyond the figure demanded by the agreement, with imports shooting up from 263,000 MT (metric tons) in 1995 to 2.1 million MT in 1998, 836,999 MT in 1999, and 639,000 MT in 2000.   High levels of imports continued over the next two decades, the figure being dependent not so much on estimates of domestic consumption but on the lobbying power of domestic rice importers and foreign exporters at the National Food Authority (NFA), making the NFA one of the most corrupt agencies of the government.

The impact on Filipino rice producers was disastrous, since it was near to impossible to compete with super-subsidized Thai rice and Vietnamese rice, which then President-elect Duterte himself in June 2016 correctly identified as the sources of the misery of the country’s rice farmers.  For instance, under the Rice Farmer Assistance Program that was in place from 2011 to 2014, the Thai government paid farmers about $450 a metric ton for their rice.  Because that was above the market price for rice, stocks mounted, shooting up to 15 million tons, leading the government to dump rice into the export market for $380 to $390 a metric ton to recoup part of the cost of its subsidies.[xxxi]

Similarly, in Vietnam, the government subsidizes its farmers to the tune of $236 per metric ton, and the rice purchased in this program has to be exported, that is, dumped at low prices in countries like the Philippines.   As in the case of Thailand, dumping rice in global markets is a way to recoup part of the costs of subsidization.  And like Thailand, Vietnam was said to be greatly breaching the limits set for subsidies by the WTO, which should come to no more than 10 percent of the value of production.[xxxii]

In 2019, the Duterte administration abolished the quantitative restriction on rice imports, replacing it with a 35 percent import tariff.  This was a death sentence for rice agriculture.  Even the most pro-tariffication study, one done by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) in February of 2021, could not dispute the fact that “[R]ice tariffication ultimately causes an increase in income poverty, across a variety of measures, geographic categories, and time,”[xxxiii] because they would not be able to compete with cheap, subsidized rice.

It is true that Philippine agriculture was not in the best of health when the country entered the WTO in 1995, but the cure, import liberalization—even as the rich countries and the Philippines’ neighbors maintained their highly subsidized trade structures—was a cure far worse than the disease.  As the leading agricultural policy think tank, the Washington, D.C.-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), warned, “[W]ithout reform of agricultural trade barriers in industrialized countries, import liberalization in the developing world will perpetuate unfair competition.”[xxxiv]


The Coming of Covid-19

Warnings about the non-sustainability of the global value chain tended to be ignored until the Covid-19 pandemic blanketed the world in 2020.  All key points in the global supply chain suddenly became very vulnerable.

The pandemic exposed the degree to which farming is dependent upon super-exploited migrant workers, with more than 25 per cent of the world’s farm work done by these itinerant laborers.  In Europe, some two-thirds of these 800,000 difficult and backbreaking jobs, whose main features are low pay and long hours, are filled in the harvest season by workers from North Africa and Central and Eastern Europe.  But the Schengen Area, comprising 26 European states, banned external visitors for 30 days and closed many borders, putting planting and harvesting at great risk.[xxxv]

Canadian farmers lost an estimated $2.9 billion in earnings due to labor shortages, and 47 per cent of agricultural employers were unable to hire all the workers they needed.[xxxvi]

In the US, “Labor is going to be the biggest thing that can break,” warned Karan Girotra, a supply-chain expert at Cornell University told the New York Times. “If large numbers of people start getting sick in rural America, all bets are off.”[xxxvii]  Indeed, belonging to an essential industry, farm workers and workers in the downstream food processing and food retail sectors, are in the frontlines of the struggle to contain Covid-19, but many of them are deprived of the most basic protective gear like facemasks and work in crowded conditions that make a mockery of social distance rules.[xxxviii]

Food processing plants in the United States were hard-hit.  One research group estimated 100,000 cases and 466 deaths from COVID-19 among farm and food processing workers in every state between May 2020 and September 2021.  Researchers identified almost 2,000 outbreaks at meat processing plants, fruit and vegetable farms, snack food facilities, and seafood trawlers.[xxxix]

To many observers, if Covid-19 wreaked such damage on production, this was because it was facilitated by the very bad conditions that work laborers found themselves in, including unsafe working conditions and lack of access to decent sanitation and housing.

But the global supply chain was threatened not only by problems at the production and processing ends, but by transportation bottlenecks, especially at key hubs.  An FAO report vividly described what happened in the vital port of Rosario, Argentina, the world’s largest exporter of soymeal livestock feed:

Recently, dozens of municipal governments near Rosario have blocked grains trucks from entering and exiting their towns to slow the spread of the virus…Soybeans are therefore not being transported to crushing plants, affecting the country’s export of soybean meal for livestock. Similarly, in Brazil, another key exporter of staple commodities, there are reports of logistical hurdles putting the food supply chains at risk. Internationally, if a major port like Santos in Brazil or Rosario in Argentina shuts down, it would spell disaster for global trade.[xl]

FAO’s comment on the blockades in Rosario is notable for its revealing a blind spot.  It painted the protesters as being self-interested.  What it did not see or refused to acknowledge was that, like passenger air transport, ships and planes loaded with food supplies themselves became some of the most effective transmitters of the disease over long distances, so that the actions of the protesters were very understandable.  But the even bigger problem is that the FAO and other multilateral agencies could not seem to get it into their heads that the global food supply chain was contributing to magnifying Covid-19’s impact on global food supply, owing its having displaced local and regional food production systems and making countries less self-sufficient in foods, thus making them more vulnerable to hunger triggered by pandemics and other emergencies.

The Perfect Storm

In 2021, Covid-19 was joined by extreme weather to cause an increase in fertilizer prices, adding to global inflationary pressures.  For instance, average 2021 nominal prices of diammonium phosphate and urea were about 96 per cent higher than their 2019 averages.   In turn, increasing fertilizer prices exacerbated global food insecurity, as global food prices in 2021 jumped to their highest level in a decade.[xli]

The war in the Ukraine was the factor that turned the crisis into a perfect storm in 2022.  The war impacted on both fuel and food prices, the rise of which are directly correlated to the great dependence on air, sea, and land transport of the global supply chain.  One report does a good job of capturing the explosive fusion of geopolitics, pandemic, and climate change:

The war in Ukraine has disrupted the global food production system.  The two countries produce roughly a third of the world’s ammonia and potassium exports, essential ingredients in fertilizer. And they are the breadbasket for much of the world, supplying about 30 percent of global exports of wheat and barley, 65 percent of sunflower seed oil, and 15 percent of corn.

Soon after the invasion, prices for fertilizers and several food commodities rose by 20 to 50 percent. For example, wheat futures rose 40 percent from February 1 to April 1. As the exhibit shows, many countries rely heavily on wheat for their national diet, including imports from Russia and Ukraine. These countries are concentrated in Central and Western Asia as well as in the Middle East and North Africa. Syria and Yemen, already struggling with longstanding refugee crises and problems with food security, will likely be affected: both are highly dependent on wheat and thus exposed to higher prices and potential shortages. But all importing nations will be affected, unless they have longer-term fixed-price contracts with suppliers or robust hedges. The UN’s World Food Programme will also be affected, as Russia and Ukraine contributed close to 20 percent of the total food commodities it procured in 2020.

The challenge will likely be severe. According to the UN’s latest estimates, 30 to 40 percent of the autumn 2022 harvest in Ukraine is at risk, as farmers have been unable to plant. Global fertilizer shortages may also harm production. Governments are pursuing a range of options, including programs to direct more supplies to the most affected countries, levers to boost regional production, subsidies to consumers, and price controls.[xlii]


The Bigger Picture: The Crisis of Capitalist Agriculture 

While it is often smaller countries in Africa that are the focus of concerns about the loss of food security owing to the rise of the global value chain, in fact, even the most productive countries that are at the beginning of the value chain are twisted by the logic of the export-led production and, more broadly, the dynamics of capitalist agriculture.  Brazil is a good example of how food insecurity can stalk even the richest agricultural producers.

Nineteen million people are starving in that country, 25 per cent of whom are children, and 116 million suffer from food insecurity, that is, over half the population.  Yet Brazil produces over three kilograms of grain alone, per person, per day.   Ladislau Dowbor provides us with a picture of the structural dynamics that creates hunger in this agricultural superpower:

Only two sectors of the economy are dynamic: finance, in its different modalities, and the export of primary goods, which largely constitutes a decapitalization of the country in favor of commodity intermediation groups. The radical explosion of hunger and food insecurity is directly linked to both: the appropriation of resources by financial groups reduces the purchasing capacity of the population, which cannot pay for food, and the export of food by the agroindustry generates a shortage in the market and the uncontrolled rise in prices. Economic policy was disconnected from the interests of the nation.

In the era of control of agricultural products by major commodity traders, the logic is one of profit. Their control over economic policy led to a depreciation of the real, which favors exports in relation to the domestic market. In 2010, for example, one dollar of exported product returned 2.5 reais to the exporter. Today, with one dollar of exports, he earns 5.5 reais. The interest in exporting practically doubled. And since 1996…production for export is tax-exempt. “Export is what matters” (exportar é o que importa), is what they proclaimed at the time. In other words, producing food for the country’s population was taxed, but not when it was for export. This tax system further reinforces the deformation generated by the exchange rate. Add to that the weakening of the population’s purchasing capacity, and the rise in prices, and we have a complete crisis.

In Brazil, considering the volumes of food produced and the amount of land available, the process is aberrant, but actively supported by a government determined to favor bankers and traders. Caroline Oliveira, in Brasil de Fato, shows how this is a policy: ‘cattle farming and soy were the activities most financed by the National Program for Strengthening Family Agriculture (Pronaf) in 2020, accounting for 59.9% of resources, followed by production of corn (14.4%). Meanwhile, only 2.53% of Pronaf Custeio Geral resources were allocated to the production of rice and beans.’

The IBGE, the national statistics institute, in the chart below, shows the priorities of Brazilian agriculture. “Soybean is the crop with the highest production value in Brazil, followed by sugarcane, corn and coffee.” Food products like beans and rice are among the “others.”[xliii]

Dowbor notes that while Brazil is the poster boy of a capitalist industrial agriculture increasingly at odds with real human needs, “the deformation is planetary.” He cites the assessment of the 2021 UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS):

Industrial food systems, global supply chains and increasing corporate control of food governance are responsible for the inextricably interconnected and existential threats faced by our populations and planet, including the climate crisis, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, land and ocean degradation, air and water pollution, hunger, marginalization, and countless human rights violations. An extractivist development model centered on corporate control of resources, policy debates, and regulatory processes has produced a global food system that has most recently left over two billion people under-nourished and economically destitute. Furthermore, ultra-processed industrial products cause malnutrition, diet-related noncommunicable diseases, and obesity.[xliv]

Agroecologists Peter Rosset and Miguel Altieri agree, emphasizing the ecological dimension:

It is increasingly evident that agro-capitalism is self-destructive in terms of the ecological conditions of production, by simplifying and over-exploiting ecosystems, eroding soil fertility, contaminating water and spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Economically, this means that there is a falling rate of profit crisis for capital, i.e., a decrease of profits caused by an increase in production costs.  For example, increasingly greater amounts of fertilizers and insecticides must be applied to maintain past yields.[xlv]


The Food Security versus Food Self-Sufficiency Debate

The crisis of the global food chains has resulted in what some have called “food nationalism,” where governments of countries that play a key role in export-oriented agriculture place export bans to preserve their own supply of vital commodities.  Malaysia, India, and Indonesia have instituted such bans.  Malaysia is said to be “forging its own path and fending for itself, ignoring pressures from the Secretary-General of the UN, who advocated for no more restrictions on exports to reduce market pressure and avoid sudden supply shocks.”[xlvi]

While the concerns about the impact of export bans on world hunger are valid, most authorities and experts fail to point out that the central cause of problem are the global food chains that agribusiness has developed, causing the withering away of regional and local supply systems.  The so-called “food nationalism” stigmatized by neoliberal technocrats is simply a symptom of the real problem.  Given the deep crisis of the global value chain, it is an understandable defensive response on the part of some food producers.  However, the export bans declared by India and Malaysia are purely defensive and temporary, and they do not question the underlying paradigm of the global supply chain.

Defenders of the global value chain say that achieving food security can be achieved without promoting food self-sufficiency.  This neoliberal mantra repeated ad nauseam by American agribusiness and the US Department of Agriculture is no longer convincing.  Under current conditions, pushing for food self-sufficiency makes sense and should not be stigmatized as “food nationalism.”  Jennifer Clapp provides a number of reasons why food self-sufficiency makes sense:

    1. When a large proportion of a country’s population is at risk of hunger in instances of sudden food shortages due to the vagaries of world markets, as happened in 2007-2008, “it is prudent to carefully consider ways to improve domestic food production.”[xlvii]
    2. Countries with volatile export earnings can derive benefits in reducing reliance on global food markets.  “Countries that are experiencing declining terms of trade for their exports, or which are reliant on just one or two commodity exports for the bulk of their foreign exchange, are more vulnerable to sudden drops in income than countries with more diversified export sectors.”[xlviii]
    3. Countries that have the potential to be food self-sufficient in terms of their natural resource base, but are currently net food importers, “can benefit from increasing domestic food production…[Over] 60 countries at present do not have the resource capacity to produce the food they consume, but by the same token the majority of the world’s countries do have the resource capacity to produce the food that they consume.  Of those countries that have the resource capacity to be food self-sufficient, a number of them are net food importers. Many sub-Saharan African countries, for example, were net agricultural exporters in the 1960s–70s, but became net importers of food after the 1980’s. Some of those countries that have become reliant on imported food since the 1980s still have the capacity to produce sufficient foodstuffs domestically, including Guinea, Mali, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Other net-food importing countries, such as Colombia and Venezuela in South America, also have the capacity to be self-sufficient in food yet rely on global markets for a significant proportion of their food consumption in these situations could reduce the risks associated with volatile export earnings and volatile food prices by increasing domestic food production.”[xlix]
    4. Countries whose main dietary staples are controlled by a small handful of suppliers may also benefit from greater food self-sufficiency. “Rice, for example, is a thinly traded crop, meaning that there are relatively few suppliers and only a small percentage of global production is traded. Disruptions in supply can result in price spikes for thinly traded crops, as was the case with rice in the 2007–08 food crisis. Although critics of food self-sufficiency argue that there should be deeper trading in all crops to avoid such problems, for some staple crops, including rice, there are few countries that can supply it to global markets in large quantities.”[l]
    5. Countries with a large population can also benefit from reducing their dependence on world markets for food supplies. “If the amount of food commodities purchased on world markets by large countries fluctuates year-to-year, their purchases can influence global food prices in ways that might lead to higher food prices, and reduced access, not only in the country that is purchasing food on world markets, but also in other countries that import the same staple commodities. A self-sufficiency ratio close to 100% for such countries could contribute to more stable domestic as well as international food prices.”[li]
    6. Countries facing the threat of trade disruptions as a result of war or political tensions may also benefit from greater levels of food self-sufficiency.  “Most countries consider the ability to ensure food supplies in times of crisis to be a national security issue, and depending on the risk that imports will be cut off due to conflict or political tensions, countries may want to invest in their domestic agricultural capacity.”[lii] Food security as a national security issue has obviously passed from the realm of theory to that of reality with the perfect storm of Covid-19, climate change, and the Ukraine invasion in 2020-2022.
From Food Self-Sufficiency to Food Sovereignty

As noted above, there are solid reasons for reversing the trend towards the globalization of food production and moving towards more food self-sufficiency.  However, for many advocates for the right to food, the solution must go beyond just ensuring food self-sufficiency to changing the structures of production and consumption within the country.  This would mean adopting strategies that foster the values and practices that enhance community, social solidarity, and democracy.  Moreover, countries seeking to produce most of their food may nevertheless share their food and engage in trade, but this would take place largely through planning and cooperation and not through the mediation of corporate capitalist giants engaged in global trade.  For these reasons, the alternative paradigm promoted by many food rights advocates has come under the rubric of “food sovereignty.”

This paradigm shift was the “road not taken” after the food price crisis of 2007-2008 as the transnational agri-food interests and their ideologues asserted their power to preserve and expand the system.  There were, however, representatives of the peasantry, civil society groups, and peoples’ movements who met in the village of Nyéléni in Sélingué, Mali, shortly before the crisis broke out, to articulate a different vision and different path, one that has become popularly known as “food sovereignty.”  The resulting Nyéléni Declaration was a statement on behalf of those who produce an estimated 70 per cent of the world’s food that not only could their interests not be ignored but that their way—the “peasant way” or “Via Campesina,” as one of the organizational proponents of food sovereignty names itself—was the best path for the world.  What “we are fighting for,” the participants at the historic meeting declared, was “a world where …all peoples, nations and states are able to determine their own food producing systems and policies that provide every one of us with good quality, adequate, affordable, healthy and culturally appropriate food.”[liii]

The following principles, articulated by its proponents in a variety of writings and interventions, might be taken as the cornerstones of the food sovereignty paradigm:[liv]

    1. A country should strive for food self-sufficiency, meaning the country’s farmers should produce most of the food consumed domestically, a condition that is subverted by the corporate concept of food security that says that a country can also meet a great part of its food needs through imports.
    2. The people should have the right to determine their patterns of food production and consumption, taking into consideration “rural and productive diversity,” and not allow these to be subordinated to unregulated international trade.[lv]
    3. Production and consumption of food should be guided by the welfare and genuine interest of farmers and consumers, not the profit projections of transnational agribusiness.
    4. Production should be delinked from the global supply chains within which transnational corporations (TNCs) have subordinated local production in the interest of greater profitability.
    5. Food sovereignty necessarily involves the localization of agricultural production, and this is  good for the climate since the carbon emissions of localized production on a global scale are much less than that of agriculture based on global supply chains.[lvi]
    6. There must be democratic control over national trade policy, with peasants and farmers making a major input into the process.
    7. National food systems must produce healthy, good quality, and culturally appropriate food for the domestic market and avoid internationally standardized or “junk” food.
    8. A new balance must be achieved between agriculture and industry, the countryside and the city, to reverse the subordination of agriculture and the countryside to industry and urban elites, which has resulted in a blighted countryside and massive urban slums of rural refugees.
    9. Small-scale urban agriculture, which now feeds an estimated 800 million people globally, must be seen as complementary to small-scale rural agriculture and they can create a synergy that could also support the emergence of small-scale middle men and retailers.
    10. Land grabs must be stopped and the consolidation of land by landlords and transnational corporations must be reversed and equity in land distribution must be promoted through land reform.  Reform should also include provisions for communal and collective forms of ownership and production that promote a sense of ecological stewardship.
    11. Agricultural production should be carried out mainly by indigenous communities, small-scale farmers, and cooperatives or state enterprises; transnational corporations must be phased out from food production.
    12. The distribution and consumption of food should be governed by fair pricing schemes that take into consideration the rights and welfare of both farmers and consumers.  Among other things, this means an end to dumping by transnational firms of subsidized agricultural commodities, which has artificially brought down prices, resulting in the destruction of small-scale farmers.  It would also mean, according to scholar-activist Peter Rosset, “a return to protection of the national food production of nations…rebuilding grain reserves…public sector budgets, floor prices, credit and other forms of support” that stimulate the recovery of [countries’] food production capacity.”[lvii]
    13. Industrial agriculture based on genetic engineering and the original chemical-intensive Green Revolution should be discouraged, because monopoly control over seeds advances the corporate agenda and because industrial agriculture is unsustainable.
    14. Traditional peasant and indigenous agricultural technologies contain a great deal of wisdom and represent the evolution of a largely benign balance between the human community and the biosphere.  Thus, the evolution of agrotechnology to meet social needs must take traditional practices as a starting point rather than overthrowing them as obsolete.
    15. Food sovereignty is best achieved through agroecology, which is marked by “recycling nutrients and energy on the farm, rather than introducing external inputs; enhancing soil organic matter and soil biological activity; diversifying plant species and genetic resources in agroecosystems over time and space; integrating crops and livestock and optimizing interactions and productivity of the total farming system, rather than the yields of individual species.”[lviii]


Food Sovereignty in the Peruvian Highlands

The push for food sovereignty and agroecology is not something that is simply aspirational.   In many rural communities in Africa and Latin America, alternative patterns of food production that emphasize community input, technologies that fuse traditional and modern knowledge practices, and diversity are being adapted.  How this is taking place in the highlands of Peru is described by Alejandro Argumedo:

I think there’s hundreds of alternatives and you know, very rich solutions coming from below from people’s visions…So, I can tell you, for instance, how local markets in this region have become stronger, where communities that live in higher elevation, so in the mountain range, exchange different types of food crops, with communities that live in the middle range, and other communities that live in the lower elevation. And if you look more closely [at] these type of exchanges, you will see that the cropping system in the upper side is mostly root crops, which have carbohydrates, in the middle ground you will see grains and other types of crops that have a high protein content, and then in the lower part, in the warmer areas, you will have fruits and crops and medicinal plants, and all those are exchanged between these communities in a way that they all have access to a large portfolio of food sources.[lix]

Argumedo goes on to describe the spirit that animates the alternative system:

[T]his system, you know, does not need money, it is not dependent on value chains that are dominated by corporations and the market. Instead, it’s embedded in the culture, it’s embedded in the spirit, a spiritual relationship that people have with land, with crops, with the whole environment. And they see these types of systems as not just things of the past, but how we can create alternative economies, where you can combine monetary and non-monetary systems in a way that benefits not just people but also the land and all relations. So, this is not just an isolated case. There are many other cases around the region where communities have tight control of their food system and became not just independent, but sovereign in their decisions, as this is, you know, an exercise of the customary rights that they have had for a long time.

To be sure, there are many questions related to the economics, politics, and technology of food sovereignty that remain unanswered or to which its proponents give varying and sometimes contradictory answers.[lx]  But a new paradigm is not born perfect.  What gives it its momentum are the irreversible crisis of the old paradigm and the conviction of a critical mass of people that it is the only way of surmounting the problems of the old system and opening up new possibilities for the fulfillment of values that people hold dear.   As with any new form of organizing social relationships, the unanswered questions can only be answered and the ambiguities and contradictions can only be ironed out through practice, since practice has always been the mother of possibilities.

The food sovereignty paradigm, it must be noted in conclusion, is one of several alternative ways of organizing economic life that emerged as capitalism lurched from one crisis to another over the last few decades.  In addition to the Green New Deal, these alternatives include Deglobalization, Degrowth, Ecofeminism, Emancipatory Marxism, and “Buen Vivir,” or living well.  While these perspectives have emphasized different dimensions of people’s relationship with one another and with the planet, their shared elements are striking.[lxi]  To put it in the words of the great Hungarian thinker Karl Polanyi, all of them are all about creating the conditions whereby instead of having the dis-embedded market or capitalist economy drive society, the latter must be re-embedded in society.  Harnessing and fusing the insights of these approaches—the articulation of which has already involved a great deal of thinking and practice—and having them embodied in and pushed by a critical mass that tips the scale in favor of liberation is the great challenge of our times.



The perfect storm of Covid-19, climate change, and the Ukraine invasion is very much tied up with the provisioning of food, in terms of its origins, its impact, and the lessons it offers for a restructuring of the global food system.  This paper has focused on the way this crisis has exposed the fragility of the corporate-dominated global value chain and shown that it is not part of the solution, as influential forces at the FAO and its allied agencies see it. The study recommends that while in the short term, it would be important to prevent disruptions so as not to create hunger and widespread malnourishment, it is important to begin the strategic transformation of the global food production system along lines designed to bring about food self-sufficiency and food sovereignty.  Moreover, it urges that this process of transformation be articulated with other progressive alternatives that seek to go beyond the inequality, conflicts, uneven development, and ecological destabilization engendered by global capitalism.


*Walden Bello was a founding director of Focus on the Global South, where he currently is a senior analyst as well as co-chair of the Board.  He is also the International Adjunct Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton.  The author or co-author of 25 books and numerous articles, he received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize) in 2003 and was named Outstanding Public Scholar of the International Studies Association in 2008.

Some parts of this paper were originally in the author’s “Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste: The Covid 19 Pandemic and the Opportunity for Food Sovereignty,” Transnational Institute (TNI), April 2020,  Thanks to TNI as well as to the Aurea Miclat Teves and the Philippine Development Institute, which provided funding support for this project.



[i] United Nations, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2009 (New York: United Nations, 2009), pp. 7-8; Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “Briefing Paper: Hunger on the Rise,” Sept 17, 2008, New York, United Nations, p. ix.

[ii] Walden Bello, The Food Wars (London: Verso, 2009), p. 2.

[iii] Farnaz Fassihi, “Food Insecurity and Hunger Afflicted 2.3 Billion People in 2021, and the War Will Add More, the UN Says,” New York Times, July 6, 2022,  Accessed August 19, 2022.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Factbox: Surging Food Prices Fuel Protests Across Developing World,” Reuters, June 9, 2022,  Accessed August 18, 2022.

[vi] Indrajit Samarajiva, “Sri Lanka Collapsed First, but It Won’t be the Last,” New York Times, Aug 15, 2022,  Accessed August 18, 2022.

[vii] United Nations, p. 46.

[viii] Harriet Friedmann, quoted in Mara Baviera and Walden Bello, “Food Wars,” Monthly Review, Vol 64, No 3 (July-August 2012),  ( April 13, 2020.

[ix] Felippa Ann Amanta, “Preventing Global Food Crises Caused by Covid-19,” Jakarta Post, April 4, 2020,  Accessed April 7, 2020.

[x] Jean Shaoul, “UN Warns that COVID-19 Pandemic Could Trigger Global Food Shortage,” March 30, 2020,  Accessed April 5, 2020.

[xi] Thomas Reardon, Marc Bellemaire, and David Zilberman, “How Covid-19 May Disrupt Food Supply Chains in Developing Countries,” International Food Policy Research Institute,  Accessed April 7, 2020.

[xii] Dolan, C. & Humphrey, J. 2000. Governance and trade in fresh vegetables: the impact of UK supermarkets on the African horticulture industry. Journal of Development Studies, 37(2): 147;  Reardon, T., Barrett, C.B., Berdegué, J.A. & Swinnen, J. 2009. Agrifood industry transformation and farmers in developing countries. World Development, 37(11): 1717–1727.

[xiii] Maertens, M., Colen, L. & Swinnen, J. 2011. Globalization and poverty in Senegal: a worst case scenario? European Review of Agricultural Economics, 38 (1): 31–54; Reardon, T., Barrett, C.B., Berdegué, J.A. & Swinnen, J. 2009. Agrifood industry transformation and farmers in developing countries. World Development, 37(11): 1717–1727.

[xiv] Shenggen Fan, Joanna Brzeska, Michiel Keyzer, and Alex Halsema, From Subsistence to Profit: Transforming Smallholder Farms  (Washington, DC: IFPRI, 2013), p. 7.

[xv] Sango Mahanty, “Sustainable Food Systems,” in Keamin Sims et al., The Routledge Handbook of Global Development (New York: Routledge, 2022), p. 263.

[xvi] ibid, p. 264.

[xvii] Fan et al., p. 10.

[xviii] Daniel Aminetzah and Nicolas Denis, “The Risking Rosk of a Global Food Crisis,” April, 19, 2022,  Accessed August 22, 2022.

[xix] “Parched Shipments: ‘Worst Drought in 500 Years’ Dries Out Food Trade as Heatwave Drains Europe’s Rivers,” Food Ingredients First, Aug 15, 2022,

[xx] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “Philippines: Super Typhoon Rai (Odette)—Situation Report No. 4,” Feb 11, 2022,  Accessed Aug 23, 2022.

[xxi] Chad de Guzman, “Climate Crisis is Driving Food Nationalism and Changing Global Trade,” Time, July 12, 2022,  Accessed Aug 24, 2022.

[xxii] “Expensive Food, Fuel Push PH Inflation to 42-Month High of 5.4 Percent,” Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 7, 2022,  Accessed Aug 23, 2022.

[xxiii] Trinh Nguyen, “Why the Philippines is so Vulnerable to Food Inflation,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,” July 13, 2022,  Accessed Aug 23, 2022.

[xxiv] Philippine Statistical Authority, Selected Agricultural Statistics, 1997, 2007, 2016, 2020

[xxv] USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, “Philippines 2019 Export Highlights,” Aug 6, 2021

[xxvi] Ibid.

[xxvii] Chuck Abbott, “Record-High Agricultural Subsidies to Supply 39 per cent of Farm Income,” Successful Farming, March 12, 2020, Aug 6, 2021.

[xxviii] Ian Mitchell and Arthur Baker, “New Estimates of European Union Agricultural Support,” Center for Global Development, Nov 2019, pp. 1-2.

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] Submission of the Republic of the Philippines, World Trade Organization Committee on Agriculture, Geneva, July 1, 2003.

[xxxi] Forrest Laws, “Rice subsidy program cost Thailand $27 billion,” Farm Progress, April 3, 2015, Aug 6, 2021.

[xxxii] Ibid.

[xxxiii] Roehlano Briones, “Does Rice Tariffication in the Philippines Worsen Income Poverty?,” Policy Notes, Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS), No. 2021-02 (Feb 2021), p. 6.

[xxxiv] Quoted in “Trade Facts,” Business World, Sept 5-6, 2003, p. 28.

[xxxv] Jean Shaoul, “UN Warns that COVID-19 Pandemic Could Trigger Global Food Shortage,” March 30, 2020,  Accessed April 5, 2020.

[xxxvi] Djaran De Clerq et al., “How Advanced Analytics Can Address Agricultural Supply Chain Shocks,” McKinsey and Company, April 4, 2022,  Accessed August 19, 2022.

[xxxvii] Michael Corkery and David Yaffe-Bellany, “US Food Supply Chain is Strained as Virus Spreads,” New York Times, April 13, 2020,  Accessed April 15, 2020.

[xxxviii] Ibid.

[xxxix] Djaran De Clerq at al.

[xl] Maximo Torero Cullen, “Covid 19 and the Risk to Food Supply Chains: How to Respond,” FAO Liaison Office with the Russian Federation,” March 29, 2020,  Accessed August 19, 2022.

[xli] Ibid.

[xlii] Olivia White et al., “War in Ukraine: Twelve Discruptons Changing the World,” Mckinsey and Company, May 9, 2022,

[xliii] Ladislau Dowbor,”Brazil: Hunger is Back,” MEER, July 9, 2022,

[xliv] Quoted in ibid.

[xlv] Peter Rosset and Miguel Altieri, Agroecology Science and Politics (Warwickshire: Practical Action, 2017), pp. 127-128.

[xlvi] “Food Nationalism on the Rise as Countries Struggle to Safeguard Domestic Supplies,” Food Ingredients First, May 25, 2022,  Accessed Aug 23, 2022.

[xlvii] Jennifer Clapp, “Viewpoint: Food Self Sufficiency: Making Sense of It, and When It Makes Sense,” Food Policy, Vol 66 (Jan 2017),  Accessed April 12, 2020.

[xlviii] Ibid.

[xlix] Ibid.

[l] Ibid.

[li] Ibid.

[lii] Ibid.

[liii] “Nyéléni Declaration on Food Sovereignty
27 February 2007, Nyéléni Village, Sélingué, Mali,” The Journal of Peasant Studies , Vol 36, No 9 (2009),  Accessed April 13, 2020.

[liv] Among key writings on food sovereignty are Saturnino Borras, Jr., Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Todd Holmes, Eric Holt Gimenez, and Martha Jane Robbins, “Food sovereignty: convergence and contradictions, conditions and challenges,” Third World Quarterly, Vol 36, No 3 (2015),  Accessed April 12, 2020; Saturnino Borras, Jr., Marc Edelman, Tony Weiz, Amita Baviskar, Eric Holt-Gimenez, Deniz Kandiyoti, and Wendy, Wolford, “Introduction: Critical Perspectives on Food Sovereignty,” Journal of Peasant Studies, Vol 41, No 6 (2014),  Accessed April 13, 2020; Saturnino Borras, Jennifer Franco, and Sofia Monsalve Suarez, “Land and Food Sovereignty,” Third World Quarterly, Vol 36, No 3 (2015),  Accessed April 12, 2020; and A. Haroon Akram Lodi, “Accelerating towards Food Sovereignty, Third World Quarterly, Vol 36, No 3 (2015),  Accessed April 12, 2020.

[lv] Via Campesina, “Food Sovereignty and International Trade,” Position paper approved at the Third International Conference of Via Campesina, Bangalore, India, Oct 3-6, 2000.  Cited in Annette Desmarais, La Via Campesina: Globalization and the Power of Peasants (London: Pluto Press, 2007), p. 34.

[lvi] Saturnino Borras, Jr., Marc Edelman, Tony Weiz et al.

[lvii] Peter Rosset, quoted in Philip McMichael, “Food Sovereignty in Movement: The Challenge to Neoliberal Globalization,” draft, Cornell University, 2008.

[lviii] Miguel Altieri and V. M. Toledo, The agroecological revolution in Latin America: Rescuing nature, ensuring food sovereignty and empowering peasants,” Journal of Peasant Studies Vol 38, No. 3 (2011),  Accessed April 12, 2020.

[lix] UN Food System Summit Resistance, Part Two: Elizabeth Mpofu, Alejandro Argumedo, and Anuradha Mittal,” Oakland Institute, 2022,  Accessed Aug 23, 2022.

[lx] Saturnino Borras, Jr., Marc Edelman, Tony Weiz, et al.. 

[lxi] For some key works promoting these paradigms, see Ashish Kothari, Federico Demaria, and Alberto Acosta, “Buen Vivir, Degrowth, and Ecological Swaraj: Alternatives to Sustainable Development and the Green Economy,” Development, Vol 57, Nos 3-4 (2014); Tim Jackson, Prosperity without Growth? The Transition to a Sustainable Economy (UK: Sustainable Development Commission, 2009); Miriam Lang and Dunia Mokrani, eds., Beyond Development: Alternative Visions from Latin America (Quito and Amsterdam: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and Transnational Institute, 2013); Pablo Solon, Christophe Aguiton, et al., Systemic Alternatives (Bangkok: Focus on the Global South, 2017), Paul Mason, Post Capitalism: A Guide to the Future (London: Penguin, 2016); and Walden Bello, Deglobalization: Ideas for a New World Economy (London: Zed, 2005).